The hamlet of Findelen was once a “Maiensäss”, where many Zermatt families lived and worked during the summer months, growing grain and grazing cattle. Today, Findeln attracts numerous visitors in both summer and winter for its superb mountain cuisine.
The mountain restaurants at Findeln are world-famous, accessible by footpath or direct from the ski pistes. Many of the old houses are now holiday homes. The authentic Walser houses, barns and stores built of larch timber blackened by the sun are idyllic subjects for photographs. Findeln’s buildings are scattered across the sunny slopes between altitudes of 2,000 and 2,200 m.
Alpine farming and tough work
It is not so long since tough farming work dominated the summer days of the hamlet’s temporary residents. Every year, in early summer, the people of Zermatt drove their livestock up from the valley floor. The milk was made into cheese, or carried daily down to the village. Until the end of the Second World War, mountain farmers continued to plant rye and barley and make hay. On Sundays, everyone went to the chapel for mass. Today, “Maiensäss” settlements such as Findeln (formerly also known as Findelen) form an important part of the natural and cultural heritage of Valais.
Chapel, “Jakobus der Ältere”, of artistic and historical interest (late-Gothic winged altarpiece)
Located by hiking trails and ski pistes
Formerly site of highest-altitude rye fields in the Alps, at 2,100 m
Holiday chalets for rental
Photo subject: barns perched on stone slabs (to keep out mice) with Matterhorn in background
Reading “Alp- und Bergbeizli Zermatt” by Gisela Schlotterbeck, published by Weber Verlag, Thun. With portraits of 47 mountain restaurants; in German only. ISBN 978-3-906033-10-5.